Burton sees every play as a quarterback

There's one place fixed on the football field Trey Burton said he never wanted to be. It's parallel to the sidelines, cool to the touch on frigid, winter days, and scorching hot when the Swamp steams in September.

That spot? The bench.

Burton, a junior offensive fixture for the Gators, said he expected to nab the quarterback slot from his freshman year onward when he got to campus. However, he said it was a conversation with former head coach Urban Meyer in the midst of his freshman season that pried open a new realm of position possibilities for the Venice, Fla., native.

In 2010, the Gators were low in numbers at the tight end position and Meyer asked Burton his thoughts on stepping up in the spot.

"Yeah, I want to play," Burton replied. "And if this gives me the opportunity to play and do special teams and stuff like that, then I'll do it."

Since that discussion, Burton has made himself a standout on the UF roster due to his versatility on offense. Monday, he said he could get time at any of a number of positions including running back, full back, tight end and as a slot receiver this season. Burton is currently morphing to his third offensive playbook at UF beginning with Meyer's, then Charlie Weis' and now, current offensive coordinator Brent Pease's.

UF wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. commended Burton's ability to adapt quickly to new playbooks, no matter the position.

"A guy like Trey, you can move him to running back, flex him out wide, he can go at the tight end position and run routes," Hammond said. "That definitely brings a lot of versatility so that way when a new playbook rolls around, it just keeps rolling and there's not really a bump in the road for him."

Though Burton may be expected to hopscotch between positions throughout the season, he said he sees it as a chance rather than a challenge.

"I just view it as I'm trying to get on the field and this is my opportunity to play," Burton said. "It's not a hassle. Some people might think it's a hassle or it's hard, but I enjoy it."


Trey Burton has always found a way to get on the field

The fact Burton was trained as the starting quarterback during his days at Venice Senior High and his first year at Florida he began at the position, he said his experience behind center has helped him understand new concepts for his new roles on the field.

"You get to know the routes," Burton said about playing QB. "You basically have to know what everybody's doing. So it's kind of easier for me now because all I have to focus on is one thing, but I still look at it as a quarterback — through his eyes — knowing all the stuff that everybody's doing."

Burton said he's not sure if he'll log time at quarterback this season, but he's ready to do whatever Pease wants, wherever that might be on the field, and his experiences will help him wherever that is.

"Whenever they install a play, I'm looking at it as a quarterback and going over what everybody has to do," Burton said. "I learn it from the start."

For the perspective of the slot receiver position, Burton said his "bigger body" (6'3, 228 lbs.) would prove to be his advantage when weighed against the Gators' other options.

"I weigh a little more, so maybe I'm more physical than the other guys," he said.

After practicing throughout the spring and at training camp, Burton also admitted he enjoys taking passes in the slot, something he's doing for the first time in his career at Florida. He said his height would benefit him in that area of making catches, too.

"I'm just a little taller," he said. "I think that helps me out a little bit."

Whatever role he assumes for Florida this season, Burton said he's still trying to do one thing: get on the field.

"I tell Coach Pease and I told Urban, whatever they want me to do, whatever they need, just let me know and I'll do it," he said. "It's not really that I'm trying to find a role, I'm just trying to get on the field."


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